Here our Child Abuse Law experts provide some answers to common questions asked by people who have suffered child abuse and are considering making a claim. Our specialist child abuse claims lawyers will discuss your case with you and clearly explain the process for bringing a claim, whether it is against an abuser, orgnisation such as a local authority or to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Do I have a claim?
Our specialist team of child abuse lawyers has helped many people with many different types of difficult child abuse claims, and we would always recommend talking to one of our experts to find out if you could make a claim because every claim is different. Our team has helped people to make claims relating to:
- Physical abuse – This can involve being hit, shaken, thrown, poisoned, burned or scalded, as well as other types of physical harm.
- Emotional or psychological abuse – This is persistent emotional or psychological maltreatment, which impacts on a child’s emotional or psychological development. Examples might be insults or intimidation, but there are many behaviours that fall into this category. All types of child abuse involve emotional abuse at some level, but it can also occur on its own.
- Sexual abuse – This is where a child is made to participate in sexual activity – whether or not the child knows what is happening. It can involve indecent assault, molestation and rape.
- Neglect –Neglect means a failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. This can cause problems for the child’s health or development. It can include a parent or carer failing to provide enough food, clothing or shelter, and failing to protect a child from harm or danger.
Who would I claim compensation from?
Someone can abuse or neglect a child both by acting to harm the child, and by failing to act to prevent a child being harmed. We may be able to help you bring a claim against the person who abused you, or the organisation that employed them.
You may also be able to make a claim against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Our expert legal team can explain all your options and how the claims process works.
If I make a claim, will my personal information be kept confidential?
Our solicitors, the barristers we work with, and independent experts that may assist us with your case all have professional and legal obligations to keep your personal information confidential. Your personal details and the details in your case will be handled confidentially, with sensitivity and professionalism.
Is there a time limit on when I can claim?
It can take a long time to come to terms with childhood abuse, and it can be difficult for victims to talk about their traumatic experiences. Thanks to a change in the law brought about by David Greenwood, you may be able to make a claim regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.
Will I have to go to court?
Understandably, many of our clients are worried about the thought of having to go to court. The good news is, it’s usually possible to settle child abuse claims out of court. Almost all the cases our child abuse claims solicitors have dealt with have been settled without the need to go to court, so it’s very likely your claim will be concluded without you having to attend a court hearing at all.
If your case is one of the very few that does go to court, we know that relating your traumatic experiences won’t be an easy thing for you to do, so we will be with you, offering support throughout the process. We’ll ensure you know what to expect, and keep you informed at every stage, so that you feel as well prepared as you can be.
What do we have to prove in a child abuse claim?
Essentially, we have to prove that:
- The abuse occured; and
- The abuse led to your injuries and/or mental health condition.
Exactly how we go about this varies from case to case, but it could involve examining records that social services and other organisations hold about you, and talking to witnesses.
Should I report the abuse I suffered to the police?
The abuse or neglect of a child – even if it was in the past – should be reported to the Police so that they can investigate. It can take a long time before someone who has been abused as a child can talk about their experiences, but if you can, you should talk to the police as soon as you feel able. The police have specially trained officers who are specialists in investigating cases of child abuse. They understand the difficulties of coming forward, but once you have given them the details, they will be able to investigate your case.